Have kids? You’re a third class citizen

The other day I was watching a brilliant social history documentary television programme where they were talking about the criminal classes. These are an interesting group regarded as the lowest of the low and in the past there were whole streets and areas (ghettos) in which these people tended to live for various reasons.

Since having children I have noticed a change in attitude towards me when out and about with the kids. The other day I was in Debenhams and went to the till to be pushed out of the way by another woman. Ned was screaming, she didn’t care, she was going first. When I eventually got served (her transaction was complex) the bloke behind the till said something along the lines of me being there first and how some people think they are better. I had to agree. It got me thinking, she thought she was better because I had a screaming baby, she thought she deserved to be served first.

Yesterday in Ikea Wembley I had a nightmare experience. In fact, most trips to Ikea are a nightmare but this one was worse. The kids got to the tills and decided they both needed to go to the loo. I took them to the ones close by which were closed for refurbishment. The nearest ones were by the entrance to the shop, I marched them around there. Kerry the Duty Manager had closed all but two toilets as the shop was nearing closing time. The queue was enormous, I mean really enormous. I stood there with two children hopping on the spot and a baby strapped to me. She told me there was nothing she could do, she wouldn’t open a toilet for them. I explained that at 5 & 3 they couldn’t wait. We were directed outside, they could wee up the wall. I had 3 children with me, she wasn’t going to help. Tempted to let them wee all over the floor, I took them outside the door and let them do it there. They are too little to know better, I felt humiliated and very angry.

We live in nappy valley, people move here from London because of the schools and the way of life when its time to have kids. You’d think that most of the local big stores would have considered it a reasonable idea to have the baby clothes/ food section on the ground floor. Nope, in Boots St Albans there are vast displays of toilet roll and bubble bath juxtaposed with a queue for the lift to take you to the baby section. In Marks and Spencer you have to fight the pensioners getting in the lift to the Financial Services desk and cafe and then navigate past too small displays to the baby/ kids section and so it continues. I have money to spend, I have all day. This is acceptable. No wonder my generation buys more and more things on the Internet.

I could go on and on, before kids life was easy. I shopped in places where people opened the doors, people were pleasant and polite. I never had to endure the fact that many people think its acceptable to park in mother and baby slots because its easy rather than because they have kids. The fact that I cant physically actually get my kids in and out of the car in another space would never even have been known to me. Have you ever noticed that with a child in tow people talk to you as if you have suddenly become mentally retarded. The act of pregnancy and giving birth causing a loss of brain cells. Before children people addressed me by my name not as ‘Ned’s Mum’ or ‘Fifi’s mum’. I no longer exist.

Through the act of pregnancy and childbirth I have effectively become a third class citizen. I’m not a member of the criminal class, but I am a member of the modern day equivalent in many ways . I live in an enclave with other parents due to the proximity of good schools and appropraite housing, I am known in my local community, albeit not by my actual name and I spend a lot of time screaming like a caterwauler. The government appear to know whats best for me, albeit tax wise, job wise, pension wise and childcare wise but they wont listen to my thoughts. Unless that is I go to NetMums or similar and get my ‘representative’ to speak for me.

Catch my drift here? I’m quite sick of the treatment I’ve received as a parent, yet I have no idea what to do to change these attitudes. After all, I’m sleep deprived and my days are quite busy…


14 Responses

  1. Jen Walshaw 2nd July 2012 / 12:35 pm

    I watched that program too! I would put in an official complaint at Ikea, that is terrible customer service.

  2. liveotherwise 2nd July 2012 / 12:37 pm

    I would complain vociferously at ikea, that's disgraceful. As to the rest of it,I don't like the sound of where you live 🙁

  3. Kirsty Hornblow 2nd July 2012 / 12:40 pm

    Many of the points raised ring true with me. I often feel like the rest of society has no idea of the daily challenges mums face and if we complain we are seen as 'hormonal' or just a bit mad! I don't believe that the role of the mother is respected, it is, at best, tolerated. Gaby Hinsliff's latest book has sensible suggestions for how to change society to accommodate family life

  4. Katie TSMamma 2nd July 2012 / 2:01 pm

    I too have experienced some shocking attitudes from randoms since having my boy. I thought your treatment at Ikea though was beyond low. xx

  5. Alex Walsh 2nd July 2012 / 2:11 pm

    Hey anonymous, as official hubby to beingamummy, I tend to do the heavy lifting when it comes to putting flat pack furniture in the car. What with 3 children, one of whom is in a baby sling, it&#39;s probably too much for one person to manage, and I certainly wouldn&#39;t be able to shop for furniture on my own with 3 kids.<br /><br />Unfortunately I don&#39;t have that much holiday that I can

    • liveotherwise 2nd July 2012 / 6:50 pm

      Does that mean she&#39;s got an unofficial hubby too? 😉

  6. Jen SuburbanMum 2nd July 2012 / 4:19 pm

    Whether it&#39;s Saturday or not, that treatment is terrible! Who&#39;s to say that the same thing wouldn&#39;t have happened on a weekday visit, if that&#39;s what the Duty Manager is like – I&#39;m sure she doesn&#39;t just reserve it for weekends. And she&#39;s clearly not a parent!<br /><br />Jen x

  7. Compostwoman 2nd July 2012 / 4:24 pm

    Anon commenter – frankly, I think your comments are pretty rude – and particularly for saying this about Zooarchaeologist.<br /><br />&quot;More fool you. I&#39;m not saying your treatment was acceptable because it wasn&#39;t but which part of you thought it would be OK to go there then?&quot;<br /><br />Why on earth should anyone have to restrict their activities to weekdays &quot;just because

  8. Fiz 2nd July 2012 / 8:47 pm

    Anonymous, you are a coward, hiding behind the internet. Grow a pair and post your real name, as I do!

  9. Trouble Doubled 2nd July 2012 / 9:03 pm

    I agree that just because someone has children and have seemingly (to others anyway) endless amounts of time that they should have to forgo going somewhere on a weekend and give priority to others. What makes someone who works during the week have a monopoly on a shop or similar facilities? Anyway, what do I know, I&#39;m just a mum.<br /><br />A man once asked me in Tesco car park if my twins (

  10. Rachel 2nd July 2012 / 10:04 pm

    This post really resonates with me. <br /><br />When I had kids, the first thing I noticed was an uptick in kindness from absolute strangers towards me, just because I was a mother. And the second thing I noticed, was sniping, nasty pushiness from absolute strangers, just because I was a mother. <br /><br />The latter group is a really bummer. They should be sent to the naughty step. I hope your

  11. Alex Walsh 3rd July 2012 / 9:02 am

    @liveotherwise, how would I know, if it&#39;s unofficial? 😉

  12. Life through the Slim Lens 4th July 2012 / 8:52 pm

    I have always hated Wembley Ikea, we used it when living in London. Milton Keynes is MUCH NICER. Plus it doesn&#39;t have the awful child trap aka merry go round outside!<br /><br />Definitely complain about your treatment though. They are very much touting their family friendliness.

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